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Institutional Research and Planning Policies

Data Release Policy

The Office of Institutional Research and Planning is the custodian of many data resources related to the characteristics and performance of Bentley University. These data are maintained for purposes of advancing the University’s self-knowledge and supporting executive decision making and institutional planning activities.

Public domain data: A vast array of data sources maintained by the office are in the public domain by virtue of mandated reporting to governmental agencies or voluntary reporting to various college guide book publications. Such data are on this website and are available to all interested parties.

Restricted data: The office at its discretion restricts access to institutional data and databases. Except as required by law, access is always restricted for purposes of protecting the confidentiality of personally-identified and personally-identifiable data. Similarly, access to institutionally-identified data about peer institutions collected under the University’s formal agreement with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium is limited and utilized only for executive-level planning purposes. Finally, access may be denied for reasons of proprietary interest, competitive advantage, the protection of intellectual property rights, or other reasons judged prudent by the Dean for Information Resources and Systems.

The Office of Institutional Research and Planning subscribes to the Code of Ethics of the Association for Institutional Research. We employ survey administration procedures designed to encourage high response rates, while at the same time respecting students’ choice to decline participation. We use internal-tracking methods that capture the identity of respondents without enabling us to know their survey responses; this facilitates follow up communications to non-respondents. Data are aggregated and analyses are aimed at identifying patterns, trends, and relationships. Data are used primarily to evaluate programs and policies and to plan for Bentley’s future. Secondary uses include scholarly publications and professional presentations. Occasionally, personally-identifying information is requested so individual survey responses may to be linked to other subject-specific information maintained in the University’s information systems; compliance is voluntary. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning organizes, stores, maintains, analyzes, transfers, and disposes of data in such a manner as to reasonably prevent loss, unauthorized access, or divulgence of confidential information.

Collaborative Studies: The Office occasionally enters into agreements with researchers both inside and outside Bentley to conduct research studies. When data are shared for purposes of such work, the collaborators are obligated to protect its confidentiality and integrity consistent with the standards summarized in this document. They are obliged to comply with all pertinent local, state and federal laws in their handling of data, and with commonly agreed standards of professional conduct. As a precondition for sharing data, the Office of Institutional Research and Planning requires access to a detailed research proposal outlining design and methodological considerations. The Office requires a copy of the finished work. Such studies may not be published in any medium without the written permission of the office.

Re-release to Third Parties: Data supplied by this office to other parties may not be re-released by them to any other party for any purpose.

Compliance: In its data maintenance and disclosure policies, to the best of its ability the Office of Institutional Research and Planning acts in compliance with local, state and federal law, especially the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.